This photo just about sums up my trip to Turkey this summer. At any point we were walking over places that had been something else long before we got there. Entire cities existed and are now covered with dirt. What are we building now that won’t be more than a hillside in the next century?

The First Quarter

Well, I have officially made it past the quarter-century mark.  Turns out, it feels about like the rest of my 20s so far, but its nice knowing I can rent a car like a normal person now.

To celebrate, I took a long weekend off work and had some great times with friends and family.  Its funny how nowadays my birthdays involve my friends who have recently gotten married and/or become parents, along with people from college group. I love the great mix of life situations we all have now.  And that we still like to play like kids as much as possible.

Drawback to grown-ups playing like kids, sometimes the fun stops while we search for a lost wedding ring...

A really great treat from Friday night was an impromptu visit from Vo, one of the original CASA girls who moved back to San Jose last summer.  That city needs to stop stealing my friends! We got to take a full CASA family picture, likely the last one at the original CASA itself. Bittersweet.

Its strange to think about where I am in life now. The fact that 20 was 5 years ago, and 30 is just 5 years away is so crazy to me.  I am so excited to see what God has in store, and I’m still learning that life is going to happen according to his timing – not mine.  I don’t know where I would have said I would be at 25 if you had asked me 5-10 years ago, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

The Monday before last I was quite unexpectedly blessed with a promotion.  It came with a new office and title to go along with the responsibilities I’ve been doing for the last couple of months.  I’m excited to grow into this new place, and am praying for wisdom and provision to be able to handle the transition well. The next few weeks are going to be rough with about half of our team leaving for extended vacations and new jobs.  Here goes nothing!

The new digs.

A Sweet 16

Tonight the Keen family lost one of our own.  For the last 16 years Shelly has been a part of the family, and if you haven’t noticed yet – that’s a really true statement for me.  The emotions are less fresh than when this whole process came to a head two weeks ago, but they’re still right there.  She has been such a sweet companion over the years, crazy and rambunctious when I was a kid, quiet and gentle when I came home exhausted from college – and eventually the “real world.” I’m going to miss her a lot.

So rather than make other people cry (although if you want a good weep and/or laugh from a pet story, you should go here), here are some of my favorite Shelly memories:

1.Being afraid to share my bed with her the first few nights after we brought her home because she groaned in her sleep

2.The visible path she made in our backyard from her daily sprints – Dalmatians can RUN by the way.

3. The time she ran into a tree during one of those sprints, and had bark stains for weeks

4. Her ability to catch birds – including a neighbor’s pet – in midair.

5. The time she hid behind someone at obedience class while I wasn’t looking

Even though its painful to know she’s gone, I wouldn’t trade the memories from the last 16 years for anything.  Great family dogs have definitely been one of God’s gifts to me, and such a neat way to see love.  I really hope she’s hanging out in heaven keeping someone entertained while she waits for the rest of us to come along.

What I Do

Technically I have a career and what not.  But what I prefer to view my occupation as is serving this group of people.

Sandals College United is where I’ve spent Wednesday nights for nearly the past 5 years.  God brought me here to become the woman He intended me to be.  He’s still teaching me, and has now enabled me to help college girls through the process too.

I can’t wait to see where God is going to move among college kids in Riverside.  I have a feeling we’re just getting started.

So if you know me at all, you know that I am a dog person.  I was raised with dogs my entire life, at least 2 or 3 at a time.  When I became a “grown-up” I fell in love with a pup of my own, and look at him – could you resist?

He lived with my parents until I moved from my college apartment into the CASA, but a full time job and a rambunctious new Golden Retriever pup didn’t quite mix.  Luckily Maximus Keen already had his grandparents wrapped around his little paw.

So Max moved to Mom and Dad’s and is living happily ever after, taking lots of agility classes and being downright spoiled along with his brother and sister.

Family Photos by Daniel Balboa – Who witnessed firsthand who runs this family now.

But that still leaves me, dog lover at heart, pup-less.  I get home for a fix pretty often, but there is still so much of me that would love to have a dog of my own running around the house and curling up with me on the couch.  Working full-time still I know that a puppy is out of the question, but more and more I’ve been considering adopting an older shelter dog.  Of course looking at the shelter website while I watch 101 Dalmatians right now is not helping.  (Sidenote: The Twilight Bark is pretty much the best thing ever.)

My Favorite

Thanks to all the lovely winter storms we’ve been having, Riverside is absolutely beautiful right now.  I’m pretty sure my growing up in the desert is a direct cause of my serious love for green landscapes and cloudy skies.  The rain pouring outside my open window right now is a special treat too.  It just looks so rich and alive and fresh and abundant to me, ah, I could go on and on but I’ll spare you.  My favorite thing to do is to be out frolicking in the green, and running gives me a great excuse to do so.  Check out the view from last Saturday…

Needless to say, I was quite the happy camper here.  Unfortunately, in the expression of my joy I frolicked a little too much and seemed to have done a number to my foot.  So for now my appreciation is being done cautiously.  Can’t wait to get back out there!